Some Published Excerpts
on Beta-Carotene and Other Vitamins
by Ted Kalli
"[Beta]-Carotene, precursor of vitamin A, appears to protect against
skin damage and dehydration caused by UV irradiation. Italian
investigators used a topical cosmetic emulsion containing
microencapsulated [Beta]-carotene. In animals, they evaluated the
products ability; to diminish peroxidation induced by UV irradiation.
Then, in 30 women aged 30 to 45, they did a double-blind study of the
product's effect on level of stratum corneum rehydration and its
protective action against induced skin roughness (by negative replicas
of skin areas). They found that, when incorporated in a suitable
cosmetic emulsion, [Beta]-carotene prevented or reduced both
peroxidation and skin roughness induced by UV. Moreover, it improved the
level of hydration."
has been no report of toxic symptoms resulting from excessive intake of
carotene. Therefore [beta] carotene could be given to pregnant and
lactating women to increase their body stores and the vitamin A content
of milk since [beta] carotene is safer than retinyl palmitate and has no
risk of teratogenicity."
"Beta-carotene appears to be as effective as retinyl palmitate in
treating vitamin A deficiency in children... Because is derived from
fruits and vegetables, rather than from animal products as retinyl
esters are, it may provide a cheaper source of treatment. "
"Beta-carotene protects against photooxidative dermatitis in prophyric
humans and mice by quenching of photoactivated species. Other actions of
beta-carotene in vivo are explained on the basis of its ability to
scavenge free radicals in vitro."
and tocotrienols (vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as well as the
carotenoids react with free radicals, notably peroxyl radicals, and with
singlet molecular oxygen, this being the basis of their function as
ability of beta-carotene to serve as precursor to retinoic acid was
examined in vitro with cytosol prepared from rat tissue... Thus,
beta-carotene metabolism may be an important source of retinoic acid in
retinoid target tissues, particularly in species such as humans that are
capable of accumulating high concentrations of tissue carotenoids.
Retinal, considered an initial retinoid product of beta-carotene
metabolism, was not detected as a product of beta-carotene metabolism in
vitro. A ratio of retinol and retinoic acid different from that observed
during beta-carotene metabolism in vitro was observed with incubations
of retinal under identical conditions. These data indicated that
beta-carotene metabolism is not merely a simple process of producing
retinal and releasing it into solution to be metabolized
the most potent of the carotenoids tested (i.e. beta carotene, alpha
carotene, canthaxanthin) all have the potential for conversion to
retinoids (though this has never been demonstrated in mammals for
canthaxanthin), it is suggessted that these compounds have two
components to their action; one related to their antioxidant properties,
the other to their pro-vitamin A activities."
Carotene: "In the last few years increasing numbers of reports have
suggested that the use of Beta Carotene may act to prevent the
development of various malignancies. Beta Carotene and other similar
compounds have differentiating properties that appear to affect cell
growth and maturation. Beta Carotene is not toxic to the liver even in
high doses in contrast to Vitamin A. Large doses of Beta Carotene will
increase the body's demands for Vitamin E; therefore, those of you on
50,000 to 100,000 units of beta carotene per day will need to also
increase your vitamin E to 1,000 to 2,000 units per day. The definitive
role of beta carotene/vitamin E is yet to be understood, but there is
sufficient reason to use beta carotene in a dose of 50,000 units per
day. There is no need to supplement this with carrot juice or vitamin A.
Beta carotene, like vitamin A and E is stored in the liver. Current
clinical trials in prevention of cervix cancer and cancer of the lung
and breast are using beta carotene. This may also be helpful in the
prevention of colon cancer and melanoma."
E: "Vitamin E is an important anti-oxidant. It acts as a free radical
scavenger to prevent the byproducts of chemical-cell interaction to
cause cell damage. Free radicals are likely responsible for all or most
of the degenerative diseases e.g. arthritis, heart disease, cancer,
senility etc. The absorption or scavenging of free radicals would
protect our cells from this type of injury. Other free radical
scavengers include zinc, vitamin C, and selenium. Studies have reported
vitamin E to protect against some of the toxicities of ionizing
radiation. Vitamin E may help to decrease the toxicity of certain
chemotherapy drugs. Adriamycin is an important anti-cancer drug with
potential major toxicity to the heart. The use of 1000 to 2,000 units of
vitamin E per day may help to decrease this toxicity. Vitamin E may
decrease some of the harmful effects of solar radiation on the skin. As
cited above it works well in conjunction with beta carotene. Vitamin E
appears to have stabilizing effect on the vascular system and is useful
in decreasing menopausal and premenstrual symptoms. It is useful in
decreasing leg cramps occurring especially at night. Vitamin E can be
used in lotions or creams to protect the skin or to treat for burns. It
is also helpful to treat burns secondary to radiation therapy. I have
also used it with good results in patients with dermatitis resulting
from poor blood circulation i.e. stasis dermatitis. It is commonly
prescribed for topical use in pregnant women to prevent stretch marks on
the abdomen. More recently it has been used to prevent or treat
mucositis resulting from chemotherapy. I advise patients to bite into a
1000 unit capsule and swish the vitamin E around the mouth and over the
mucous membranes lining the cheeks. This is done three to four times a
day. You can also use liquid vitamin E to do this."
1. Internat Soc Cos Chem,
Barcelona (Sept 1988)
2. Vitamins and the skin.
(vitamins in cosmetics), Idson, Bernard, Cosmetics and Toiletries, Dec
1993 v108 n12 p79(11)
3. A randomised controlled
trial to test equivalence between retinyl palmitate and beta-carotene
for vitamin A deficiency. Carlier C; Coste J; Etchepare M; Periquet B;
Amedee-Manesme O. BMJ Oct 30, 1993 v307 n6912 p1106(5)
4. Protection by
beta-carotene and related compounds against oxygen-mediated cytotoxicity
and gentoxicity: implications for carcinogenesis and anticarcinogenesis.
Rosseau EJ; Davidson AJ; Dunn B. Bioenergetics Research Laboratory,
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.
5. Antioxidant functions of
vitamins. vitamin E and C, beta-carotene, and other carotnoids. Sies H;
Stahl W; Sundquist AR. Ann NY Acad Sci 669: 7-20(1992)
6. Biogenesis of retinoic
acid from beta-carotene. Differences between the metabolism of
beta-carotene and retinal. Napoli JL; Race KR. J Biol Chem 263:
7. Diverse carotenoids
protect against chemically induced neoplastic transformation. Bertram
JS; Pung A; Churley M; Kappock TJ 4d; Wilkens, LR; Cooney RV.
Carcinogenesis 12: 671-8 (1991)
VITAMINS, MINERALS & TRACE ELEMENTS Stephen B. Strum M.D.